Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter

2007-09-15

The most common action

Copy and paste. Isn't that just great? The guy who thought that idea: think how much time he has saved for us users. And cut and paste. Modern hero. But what is copy and paste? Or more specific: what do you want to copy how is the pasted stuff to be formatted?
Don't know if it's attributed to my age, my line of work or just culture, but I most of the time want to paste the stuff without the formatting. So, most of the time I'm forced to choose Paste Special, a command that forces me to choose between a wide variety of pasting formats. It's so annoying. In the good old days, when the problem started to surface (think it was the version before Office 95...), I solved it with macros and special short cut keys. But then I had to fix that in all programs and on all the computers that I used. And when a new version of my programs was to be installed, I had to do it all over again. AKA, I dropped that. It's not for nothing that I want something like Delicious is for my favorites for those common functions you find in all your application.
But it also get you thinking, how well has Microsoft and all the guys decided on how paste is going to work, does people really want the original formatting?
What this has resulted in is the very common annoyance of public documents: slight differences in formatting due to original text being copied from different documents. It's ugly, it's unprofessional and the only good thing about it is that the reader can see which text comes from which writer, the knowledge derived from the formatting. (Not all sees those differences and that is perhaps why it's not spotted right away by the authors.)
When working with the development of our applications, I find it very important to analyze these things: the most common setting and using that as default. Not lecturing people how they should work by having a default setting they don't want. Like automatically selecting the whole words then selecting text in Microsoft Word. When giving classes in MS Word, that was the most common question, how to turn that off. The only good thing about that setting is that showing how to turn that off made me a modern hero. Not exactly like the cutandpaste guy, but...

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